Subsidized loans are available to undergraduate students and are based on financial need as determined by your FAFSA application.
The federal government pays the interest on these loans while you are in school and interest does not accrue on the loan as long you’re enrolled at least half-time. Once you graduate (or you cease being at least a half-time student), there is a six-month grace period before you have to start paying back the loan. After this six-month grace period, you are required to make payments on the loan, including interest.
2023-24 Loan Information
Interest rates vary annually, with the rate fixed for the lifetime of the loan borrowed each year. For loans received between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024, the interest rate is 5.50%. The Department of Education also charges a loan origination fee that is deducted from your loan at the time of disbursement. The loan origination fee varies every year; for loans borrowed between October 1, 2020 and October 1, 2024, the rate is 1.057%. Cal Poly's federal student loan default rate is currently 0%.
To be eligible for a subsidized loan, you must:
- Meet basic federal eligibility criteria.
- File a FAFSA for the appropriate award year.
- Be enrolled at least half-time (6+ units for undergraduate students).
- Submit all required To-Do list documentation on your My Cal Poly Portal before applicable deadlines.
- Meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Receiving Your Loan
- Accept Your Loans
Accept your loans in the Financial Aid Awards section of your My Cal Poly Portal. If you do not want to borrow the full amount offered, you can reduce the amount before accepting. Once you have accepted the funds, the Financial Aid Office will transmit your loan information to the US Department of Education.
- Complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN)
If you are a new Direct Loan borrower, you will need to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). This is the contract between you and the Department of Education. The MPN is not available to sign until the Financial Aid Office transmits your loan information. Once we receive notification that you’ve completed it, we will remove the requirement from your To-Do List in 2-3 business days.
- Complete Entrance Counseling
All new Direct Loan borrowers are required to complete Entrance Counseling online before receiving their first loan disbursement. Continuing borrowers are also encouraged to complete the counseling each year. Cal Poly electronically receives notification that you've completed the session and will remove the requirement from your To-Do List within 2-3 business days.
- Receive Your Loan Money
Once all requirements have been met, the loan will be electronically transmitted to the Student Accounts Office no earlier than one week prior to the start of each term. Any money beyond the university charges will be refunded to you when classes begin. All borrowers will receive a disclosure statement prior to disbursement.
- Complete an Exit Interview
Everyone who borrows a Direct Loan must complete an Exit Interview online with the Student Accounts Office either the term before graduating or when they otherwise withdraw from Cal Poly.
More information on Subsidized Loans
The Federal Government can provide more information about Subsidized Federal Loans. The Direct Loan student basics brochure (PDF) also has more information on the Direct Loan program (both subsidized and unsubsidized loans).